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General => The Common Room => The Lighter Side => Topic started by: Stanwix England on Sunday 01 May 22 20:01 BST (UK)

Title: Is the story about teeth removal true?
Post by: Stanwix England on Sunday 01 May 22 20:01 BST (UK)
Hello, I was just wondering if any of our older members might know something about this.

Teeth have been on my mind lately as I'm due to have some dental work done. I remember hearing/reading that it used to be common for people to have all their teeth removed when they were a young adult - in order to avoid expensive and painful problems in the future. They would then wear dentures for the rest of their lives.

I've started to second guess if this is true, or just a made up story because a) you'd still have to pay to have all the teeth removed in the first place, so how was it saving money and b) you'd have to pay for dentures and presumably maintain them for the rest of your life - which would also be difficult and potentially expensive.

It also occurred to me that I had never heard of anybody in my family having that done - which obviously doesn't mean that the legend isn't true, just because it didn't happen in my family, but still.

So I was wondering if anyone on this forum remembers any of their family members having this done, or having heard of it being done.
Title: Re: Is the story about teeth removal true?
Post by: nanny jan on Sunday 01 May 22 20:10 BST (UK)
I was told that one of my aunts (b.1913) had this done for her 21st birthday!  :o

She died when I was very young so not able to confirm.
Title: Re: Is the story about teeth removal true?
Post by: mckha489 on Sunday 01 May 22 20:25 BST (UK)
Similar period, I was told by a woman she was given the “gift”  by her father before she got married, to “save her new husband the future expense”.

I think it is true, and did happen a lot.

I have also heard stories of the job being done on/at the kitchen table!  But I don’t think that can be correct.
Title: Re: Is the story about teeth removal true?
Post by: Hillhurst on Sunday 01 May 22 20:32 BST (UK)
My middle-aged granny requested that all of her teeth be pulled before going abroad for several years. She was anxiety-prone, and worried that she wouldn't receive proper dental care in the other country. So she had dentures fitted before she left England. I do question her dentist - pulling healthy teeth.

I did confirm all of the above with my granny many years ago. She didn't think it was an odd thing to do. Then again, this was a woman who would immediately flush private letters down the loo after reading them only once. At the time, I thought she was a spy!  ;D
Title: Re: Is the story about teeth removal true?
Post by: Kiltpin on Sunday 01 May 22 21:38 BST (UK)
The wife of a friend of mine had all her teeth removed and dentures fitted as a present when she was 18. She was living in the US at the time, and she was the last of all her friends to have it done. This was in the mid 60s. 

Regards 

Chas
Title: Re: Is the story about teeth removal true?
Post by: radstockjeff on Sunday 01 May 22 21:40 BST (UK)
I can recall many years ago when working on a building site there was one labourer, tough as old boots.  I believe he had spent time in the coal mines, but who was mortally afraid of the dentist. So If he had a problem with a bad tooth he took rather extreme measures.
He would tie a piece of strong cord around the tooth (there were plenty of gaps from previous extractions) and the other end on to a 5lb or 10lb sledge hammer; hold the hammer between his knees and then let it drop suddenly, pulling the tooth out.
Title: Re: Is the story about teeth removal true?
Post by: Stanwix England on Sunday 01 May 22 21:50 BST (UK)
Thank you everyone for sharing your stories. I am now even more grateful to have an NHS dentist!
Title: Re: Is the story about teeth removal true?
Post by: polly50 on Sunday 01 May 22 22:56 BST (UK)
My mother-in-law told me she had all her teeth removed when pregnant with her first child. This was in 1942/3.

She said it was because pregnant women often experienced dental problems. But I think her teeth were not in a very good condition anyway.


Title: Re: Is the story about teeth removal true?
Post by: Nic. on Sunday 01 May 22 23:04 BST (UK)
I was a child in the 70’s.

I remember both my maternal grandparents had their teeth removed and wore dentures.  My Nan found hers uncomfortable and kept them in her handbag only putting them in for special occasions.  It’s my understanding they both had all their teeth out before their 50s. 
Title: Re: Is the story about teeth removal true?
Post by: Alex Edge on Monday 02 May 22 00:01 BST (UK)
My father had all his teeth removed when he was seventeen years old in 1927.  He never spoke about it to his children and we were never learned the reason; his mother gave me the basic information. My father was the oldest child in the family and some of his siblings certainly had false teeth when I knew them as my uncles and aunts.

Alex Edge
Title: Re: Is the story about teeth removal true?
Post by: Rena on Monday 02 May 22 01:19 BST (UK)
I remember our mother having her teeth out in the late 1940s after she'd had our baby brother.  Our father liked them so much that he had all his teeth out too. Both of them were in their twenties.  Years later I asked why he'd decided to have dentures and learned that he didn't like his own teeth. 

'Photos show that they both had a beautiful set of original teeth and later 'photos show their dentures looked exactly like the set of teeth that had been extracted.

Some years later the government banned dentists from extracting perfectly healthy teeth.
Title: Re: Is the story about teeth removal true?
Post by: Ruskie on Monday 02 May 22 01:54 BST (UK)
Yes. I’ve heard this story too, and yes, as a 21st birthday gift. What a treat.  ::)

I think my grandfather had his out quite young. Dentures were an issue due to discomfort and needing new ones as he aged. A grandmother also had hers out due to gum problems rather than her teeth not being good. I think this must have been the 1950s.

Teeth were a fairly regular topic in my family and getting them all out before they caused pain and expense later in life was always brought up.  :)

Dental care has certainly changed for the better, though I do wonder about some of the new trends like whitening and veneers where the surface of the teeth is removed before they are applied and which need replacing every ten years or so - and no going back. They’re often so fake looking and so white that they look blue.   ::)

Title: Re: Is the story about teeth removal true?
Post by: Spiral on Monday 02 May 22 08:02 BST (UK)
My maternal aunt had hers removed as a 21st birthday gift and my mother was regarded as very misguided when she refused the same.
My mother was very proud of the fact that she kept most of her teeth until her late 70s and was meticulous about making all her children visit the dentist every 6 months for which I am very grateful.
Title: Re: Is the story about teeth removal true?
Post by: DianaCanada on Monday 02 May 22 09:51 BST (UK)
When my father joined the Canadian army in 1940 he had all his teeth removed.  He was 19.  No cost to him, am sure it was free!
My brother also had most of his pulled in the late 1960’s.  My mother had her top teeth removed when she was around 40.  She grew up in England and told me she had never seen a dentist as a child.
I wish more of our dental care was covered by our health care system. 
Title: Re: Is the story about teeth removal true?
Post by: Sonofsuffolk on Monday 02 May 22 11:30 BST (UK)
 From my mother's notes about her mother (Annie) first meeting the man who was to become my maternal grandfather in 1914:

"This was where she met a 19year-old army private, who, according to the army custom of the time had just had all his teeth out. Awaiting army issue dentures, he can not have been feeling his best but something about him attracted 16 year-old Annie and the feeling was mutual."

Title: Re: Is the story about teeth removal true?
Post by: tillypeg on Monday 02 May 22 12:09 BST (UK)
Yes it's true.  My mother, born 1919, had all her teeth removed when she was 21.  She apparently attended a special surgery set up in the basement of Middlesbrough Town Hall - a place also known as The Crypt.....  ;D

She wore dentures for the rest of her life and frequently loosened the bottom set to poke them out at her grandchildren as a joke!
Title: Re: Is the story about teeth removal true?
Post by: lydiaann on Monday 02 May 22 14:51 BST (UK)
My mum (b. 1906) also had all of her teeth removed at age 24; however, she had chronic gingivitis and dental calculus despite, she remarked, all her efforts to keep them clean - they didn't have Interdens brushes or floss back then.  She was routinely disbelieved by her dentist at the time.

However, I too have had a life-long fight with dental calculus but fortunately my dentists have recognised that it is a problem with some people that is almost insurmountable without intervention.  One dentist I had said there was one other patient in her practice the same as me...we both had to attend for descaling and check-ups every 3 months (expensive, as this was in Canada).  All of my dentists have been super-stars, however, and, at almost 78, I have lost only 6 teeth (4 wisdoms before the age of 21) and have only 3 crowns because of their efforts.
Title: Re: Is the story about teeth removal true?
Post by: DianaCanada on Monday 02 May 22 15:05 BST (UK)
I read somewhere that the early form of floss were tiny twigs.  Might have something to do with Jane Austen.
I was fortunate not to have any wisdom teeth so avoided that headache (or toothache).  My teeth were a bit crowded on top and had an eye tooth removed.   My kids did not inherit my luck, though, and my daughters got theirs out the same day. Not a happy couple of days!  My son didn't get his extracted.
Title: Re: Is the story about teeth removal true?
Post by: ThrelfallYorky on Monday 02 May 22 15:07 BST (UK)
After the start of the N H S  in mid 1948, many people felt that such a good offer - all teeth out, and flashy dentures  instead, was simply too good to miss! (Remember, many people had really bad trrth from quite a young age, dental care cost money, as did medical care, and there was somtimes something of an "It's all free, so let's have it"
TY
Hey, Diana, I've never got any wisdom teeth through yet, either!
Title: Re: Is the story about teeth removal true?
Post by: DianaCanada on Monday 02 May 22 15:11 BST (UK)
After the start of the N H S  in mid 1948, many people felt that such a good offer - all teeth out, and flashy dentures  instead, was simply too good to miss! (Remember, many people had really bad trrth from quite a young age, dental care cost money, as did medical care, and there was somtimes something of an "It's all free, so let's have it"
TY
Hey, Diana, I've never got any wisdom teeth through yet, either!

TY, think you are the only other person I've heard of who never had wisdom teeth.  I always say it's because I am more highly evolved  ;D.
Title: Re: Is the story about teeth removal true?
Post by: Christine53 on Monday 02 May 22 15:20 BST (UK)
I too don't have any wisdom teeth. Seeing the trouble my husband had with just one wisdom tooth I am eternally grateful !
Title: Re: Is the story about teeth removal true?
Post by: DianaCanada on Monday 02 May 22 15:27 BST (UK)
Likely the blessing of a recessive gene or two!
Title: Re: Is the story about teeth removal true?
Post by: DianaCanada on Monday 02 May 22 15:29 BST (UK)
Found this online:

The lack of wisdom teeth is related to genes. A study carried out at Princeton University shows evolution has a large role to play in the absence of wisdom teeth. The study shows that the expanding brain size over hundreds and thousands of years meant that the head was no longer large enough to accommodate a larger brain and an extra set of teeth.

There, we are more highly evolved with big brains!
Title: Re: Is the story about teeth removal true?
Post by: ThrelfallYorky on Tuesday 03 May 22 15:10 BST (UK)
My father never grew any wisdom teeth, either.
TY
Title: Re: Is the story about teeth removal true?
Post by: Rena on Tuesday 03 May 22 19:34 BST (UK)
I had the full complement of 32 teeth, which included the 4 wisdom teeth.  I remember my gums ached as they pushed and bullied their way into the daylight.

I once read that wisdom teeth don't erupt through the gums if there is no room.
Title: Re: Is the story about teeth removal true?
Post by: DianaCanada on Tuesday 03 May 22 19:49 BST (UK)
Some people don’t have any develop in the jaw at all - I was X-rayed and there were none there.
Title: Re: Is the story about teeth removal true?
Post by: Treetotal on Tuesday 03 May 22 22:55 BST (UK)
I had 3 wisdom teeth and all of them caused a lot of pain, a dental Ex-Ray revealed that I have an unerupted wisdom tooth in the top right gum, he asked if I wanted it taking out, I declined as it hasn't wanted to come in all these years so it can stay where it is  ;D
Going back to the original question, I can remember when I was growing up, some women having all their teeth removed during pregnancy as it was free.
Carol
Title: Re: Is the story about teeth removal true?
Post by: ThrelfallYorky on Wednesday 04 May 22 01:27 BST (UK)
No, there was no X-ray evidence of any wisdom teeth in my jaw - OH, who suffered a lot with his, says that means I'm not very wise.
TY
Title: Re: Is the story about teeth removal true?
Post by: Ruskie on Wednesday 04 May 22 02:22 BST (UK)
I had the full complement of 32 teeth, which included the 4 wisdom teeth.  I remember my gums ached as they pushed and bullied their way into the daylight.

I once read that wisdom teeth don't erupt through the gums if there is no room.

They may not but they can still cause problems and can emerge at odd angles.

Mine all emerged in my late teens. I had them pulled out. On the other hand, my younger brother had his back molars extracted, so his wisdom teeth could come up in their place. I think if you can time this right, it is the best option.

Both of my daughters had all four of their wisdom teeth surgically removed under general anaesthetic when they were about 19/20. Many of their friends had the same thing done - some before problems occurred and some after. I think that the reason that this happens more these days is that no one wants a crowded mouth with crooked teeth, which is something that would have been tolerated more readily in the past.

Everyone is different and some people have enough room for wisdoms, though many don’t.  :)



Title: Re: Is the story about teeth removal true?
Post by: jksdelver on Wednesday 04 May 22 07:38 BST (UK)
My grandmother had hers removed aged 21 by a man knocking  at the door and saying “Im pulling teeth” so she thought it would be a good idea.

She had the same set of false ones into her 80’s . You can imaging the picture when she started laughing
Title: Re: Is the story about teeth removal true?
Post by: Rena on Wednesday 04 May 22 23:30 BST (UK)
I had the full complement of 32 teeth, which included the 4 wisdom teeth.  I remember my gums ached as they pushed and bullied their way into the daylight.

I once read that wisdom teeth don't erupt through the gums if there is no room.

They may not but they can still cause problems and can emerge at odd angles.

Mine all emerged in my late teens. I had them pulled out. On the other hand, my younger brother had his back molars extracted, so his wisdom teeth could come up in their place. I think if you can time this right, it is the best option.

Both of my daughters had all four of their wisdom teeth surgically removed under general anaesthetic when they were about 19/20. Many of their friends had the same thing done - some before problems occurred and some after. I think that the reason that this happens more these days is that no one wants a crowded mouth with crooked teeth, which is something that would have been tolerated more readily in the past.

Everyone is different and some people have enough room for wisdoms, though many don’t.  :)

My 15 year old grandfather signed his 12 year old brother's death certificate in 1878.  He died during surgery having his wisdom tooth extracted
Title: Re: Is the story about teeth removal true?
Post by: jesgardner on Thursday 05 May 22 10:05 BST (UK)
I was told that my Aunt went in to have one of her teeth removed and was put under a general anaesthetic. She woke up to find all her teeth had been removed! This would have been in the 40's or 50's.
Title: Re: Is the story about teeth removal true?
Post by: mare on Wednesday 18 May 22 15:25 BST (UK)
Mum b 1916 and dad  b1909 both had dentures early, mum before marriage in her mid twenties and she only said the teeth needed to come out, unsure if her 4 sisters close in age did likewise, dad had his teeth out while in the army as he had gum disease.

I'm another with no wisdom teeth, think all my siblings got theirs though and know husband and one of our daughters suffered a bit with theirs. Husband had great dental care in his army years and has looked after them well since, we've both spent a small fortune on dentists visits and had a couple of necessary extractions but so thankful not to have dentures yet and all our siblings the same. His parents kept their own teeth until the end but at great expense too in the later years, father in law wore his down and actually had dentures he could wear over the top but rarely did! Our children have beautiful teeth without even a filling, unlike us and our era with years of drilling! 
Title: Re: Is the story about teeth removal true?
Post by: Mike in Cumbria on Wednesday 18 May 22 17:39 BST (UK)
I had my wisdom teeth out for over-crowding but apart from that, I've never had any dental work, not even a single filling. I'm hoping to keep it this way until the final curtain.
Title: Re: Is the story about teeth removal true?
Post by: mare on Thursday 19 May 22 06:24 BST (UK)
That's amazing Mike, obviously your childhood dental nurses weren't as ruthless with their drills as ours, we had really good nourishment and no frequent access to sweets and fizzy drinks etc as our children had and seemingly no issues before dental visit but still occasionally came out with a filling. Our water wasn't fluoridated back then though and now is in most areas.
Title: Re: Is the story about teeth removal true?
Post by: mckha489 on Thursday 19 May 22 06:58 BST (UK)
It is the mineral content of the water in Cumbria (and other parts of England) Mare.
Here in NZ we don’t have that advantage.

You know how their kettles always fill up with chalk deposit, whereas ours do not….
And soap doesn’t lather up the same…
Title: Re: Is the story about teeth removal true?
Post by: mare on Thursday 19 May 22 07:08 BST (UK)
Aha mckha ... some wisdom in that  ;D cheers
Title: Re: Is the story about teeth removal true?
Post by: Mike in Cumbria on Thursday 19 May 22 22:46 BST (UK)
It is the mineral content of the water in Cumbria (and other parts of England) Mare.
Here in NZ we don’t have that advantage.

You know how their kettles always fill up with chalk deposit, whereas ours do not….
And soap doesn’t lather up the same…
I was brought up in West Yorkshire, where the water is soft (no limescale) and has naturally high fluoride levels. I think there's probably a genetic element to it too, as my mother has good teeth too. My son, 35, has never had a filling or a bad tooth either and he was brought up on Cumbrian water.
Title: Re: Is the story about teeth removal true?
Post by: Ruskie on Thursday 19 May 22 23:20 BST (UK)
I agree that the genetics play a (huge) part Mike.

Bad teeth run in my family. Always looked after them, but I have a mouth full of fillings.  :(
Title: Re: Is the story about teeth removal true?
Post by: kiwihalfpint on Friday 20 May 22 07:01 BST (UK)

Our water wasn't fluoridated back then though and now is in most areas.

I remember taking 2 small white fluoride tablets every day as a young one.  All wisdom teeth gone, lots of fillings, braces, extractions and crowns, but as Mare said that was what it was back then.  Mum born 1915 wore dentures, but because of the age gap, that was private to Mum and never shared, so I don't know the reason.

There are folks these days that will only visit the dentist when problems start, because of the price to pay, and try and find cheaper dentists.  I always had and still have 6 monthly check ups from an early age.

Cheers
KHP
Title: Re: Is the story about teeth removal true?
Post by: mare on Friday 20 May 22 07:37 BST (UK)
True that KPH, open wide the wallet as well as the mouth for dentistry!

Family in north are on tank water and have to regulate fluoride themselves, good dental service though not too far away and daughter was horrified that older granddaughter had to have a seal on a damaged baby tooth as a preschooler after quite strictly limiting sweet intake, water not juice etc the norm but dentist assured her it was minor.

Our school didn't have a dental clinic, regular appointments though came round from the clinic at the bigger school a few streets away and usually a small group at a time with older ones escorting the little ones and talk of the murder house as we went! I really only remember lovely nurses then and for my children and also the wee gifts of creations made of mouth wadding, tissue and dental floss but still think some were a bit enthusiastic with their drill skills!
Title: Re: Is the story about teeth removal true?
Post by: kiwihalfpint on Friday 20 May 22 08:13 BST (UK)
Mare, I never experienced going to the school dental nurse.  I knew it was called the murder house.  When I was four years old, I got Bell's Palsy, lets just say I had to learn to speak again, with a speech therapist, had teeth problems, so it was off to a normal dentist for me.  My dentist knew me from a wee thing till the end of my teenage years.

Title: Re: Is the story about teeth removal true?
Post by: still_looking on Wednesday 20 July 22 16:56 BST (UK)
Reading this thread as I'd heard of a relative who'd had all their teeth removed.

ThrelfallYorky mentioned their popularity when introduced in 1948.

Courtesy of the British Dental Association a mention of the Dash for Dentures https://bda.org/museum/the-story-of-dentistry/ancient-modern/dentistry-for-all (https://bda.org/museum/the-story-of-dentistry/ancient-modern/dentistry-for-all)

S_L
Title: Re: Is the story about teeth removal true?
Post by: Gillg on Thursday 21 July 22 12:21 BST (UK)
It is the mineral content of the water in Cumbria (and other parts of England) Mare.
Here in NZ we don’t have that advantage.

You know how their kettles always fill up with chalk deposit, whereas ours do not….
And soap doesn’t lather up the same…

Don't know about the mineral content, but when I lived down south and visited my mother in Cumbria I used to really enjoy the taste of tap water there -  it was quite delicious compared with that supplied in Gloucester by Severn Trent. 
Title: Re: Is the story about teeth removal true?
Post by: medpat on Thursday 21 July 22 12:26 BST (UK)
My 3 paternal aunts had all their teeth out when young as they didn't like their front teeth, especially their 2 large canines.  :o


This would be late 1920s
Title: Re: Is the story about teeth removal true?
Post by: Rena on Thursday 21 July 22 13:15 BST (UK)
My grandmother lived in the east of the town of Hull and her tap water tasted very different to the tap water that we had in the west of the town.

My late OH was posted to NATO in France in 1966.  NATO moved to the Netherlands in 1967 and after one year all the NATO dentists advised every parent to organise supplies of "disclosure tablets" because even infants were losing their teeth to cavities/caries.   It's surprising to see, when using the disclosure tablets, how much food is left on teeth even when they feel "squeaky clean".
Title: Re: Is the story about teeth removal true?
Post by: IgorStrav on Thursday 21 July 22 18:42 BST (UK)
My Dad (the handsome fellow in my avatar) had all his teeth out at the age of 26 in 1941, presumably because they'd been troublesome previously.  He had to do quite a bit of 'practising' with his new set of choppers.

On the other hand my Mum never had hers out, and was very very proud in her 80's that she was possessed of a full set.

My brother and myself - though both still with a full set of gnashers - were affected by the poor nutrition of my mother during pregnancy and her earlier life (or so I was told by a dentist once) and both of us have quite twisted teeth, especially at the bottom.

Brother had considerable difficulty with his embouchure as a professional clarinettist.

With the lack of NHS dentists/treatments presumably teeth will continue to be problematic for many people.

Title: Re: Is the story about teeth removal true?
Post by: Stanwix England on Thursday 21 July 22 23:55 BST (UK)
Thank you for all the continued replies.

This thread has come back to haunt me. I had to have a wisdom tooth taken out on Saturday. I'm still in a lot of pain as a result. I'm hoping for an improvement soon.

I am very grateful to have the benefit of painkillers and other medical assistance, unlike our poor forebears.
Title: Re: Is the story about teeth removal true?
Post by: Ruskie on Friday 22 July 22 06:44 BST (UK)
Igor, your mother’s diet must have been sufficient if she lived into her 80s and still had her own teeth. Your brother and yourself probably just have overcrowded mouths and may have benefitted from a removal or two (or four if you have wisdoms) and a nice set of braces.  ;D

Ice packs might give you some relief Stanwix. Avoid hot liquids. Don’t put up with pain for too long. Get it seen to - infections are common and you would need to nip that in the bud before it got out of hand. Sometimes antibiotics are routinely given after wisdom teeth removal.
Title: Re: Is the story about teeth removal true?
Post by: nofiogal on Friday 22 July 22 09:33 BST (UK)
Yes, it is true.  My Aunt Hilda had it done as a 21st. birthday present from Gran and Granddad.  She told me this herself.  I suppose their thinking was that if she married a man that could not afford dental work then she would suffer - it was their way of saying they cared how she would fare later on in her life. 
Title: Re: Is the story about teeth removal true?
Post by: Stanwix England on Friday 22 July 22 17:48 BST (UK)

Ice packs might give you some relief Stanwix. Avoid hot liquids. Don’t put up with pain for too long. Get it seen to - infections are common and you would need to nip that in the bud before it got out of hand. Sometimes antibiotics are routinely given after wisdom teeth removal.

I ended up making an emergency appointment, and I'm so glad I did. Turns out I have dry socket. Glad I'm getting treatment now.

Thanks for sharing your story nofiogal .
Title: Re: Is the story about teeth removal true?
Post by: dowdstree on Sunday 24 July 22 15:36 BST (UK)
A bit late but I will share my story with you.

My mum had all her teeth removed in 1934 aged 16 due to gum disease or so she was told at the time. In 1945 she met and married my dad who was a dental mechanic to trade. He made her a beautiful new set of teeth around the late 1940's. By the 1990's they were a bit the worse for wear  ;D ;D and as dad was retired by then her dentist made her a new set. They never fitted properly according to mum. Dad even used his old dental tools to alter them but to no avail. She reverted back to her old ones for everyday use and the new ones for high days and holidays :-X :-X

When dad passed away in 2005 amongst his treasures I found a plaster mould of someone's lower mouth complete with missing teeth.  ??? ??? No idea who it belonged to but it has become a family heirloom and I will pass it on to his great grandsons.  :o :o

Dorrie

p.s. Stanwix I hope your mouth feels better soon.